Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I have some sad news to convey. My discernment process, for the time being, is on hold. What was the occassion for this, you ask?

Two weeks ago I went to Fatima to have a talk with my vocational director. I hadn't had a chance to see him since I returned from Madrid and both he and I were desirous to talk about the experience and see how the discernment was coming along. I arrived at Fatima Friday evening, and met Father A. near the shrine and we talked a bit while visiting groups were praying the rosary at the Chapel of the Apparition. The next morning I spoke to him some more; we then went to visit the local (and I guess the only?) byzantine-rite chapel, where I made the acquaintance of a ukranian priest who is a friend of Father A. and also discovered that Father A. can concelebrate in the byzantine-rite liturgy. I was really impressed by this chapel. Though it was really small, I myself felt very small and was full of awe, such was the atmosphere created by all the ikons and the likes. Afterwards, I gave him my prayer notebook and we parted company until after lunch. I took advantage of the free time to confess, to do some shopping (bought an ikon and a book about St. Ignatius), and also pray calmly and without haste. When we met again, Father A. had already read my notebook and we talked a bit about what was in it. I recall he said something that comforted me much: that though I might sometimes have doubts about my vocation, or that I just might have a hunch that I have one, that outside observers can spot such these things better than one can, and that he had no doubts about my vocation, i.e., that I have one. We then talked about me returning to the Disciples, to see if that is where God is calling me, or if he shouldn't start pointing me in other directions. And so I left Fatima that day, full of hope and peace.

Yet that was not soon to last. When I finally got home my mother demanded to know why exactly had I gone to Fatima. And when I finally told her that I wanted to be a priest, things got real ugly real fast (she said things that really wounded me); I never even got to explain the why. The atmosphere at home was ackward for the rest of the week between the both of us. I then sent an e-mail to the Disciples, asking when I could visit them again, and they invited me over for the 2 week retreat that started on the 19th. I asked my dad if he would let me off from work for this. This was the first time I talked to him about my vocation. Though he told me to do whatever it was I wanted to since I'm old enough, he began crying and saying some things that truely hurt me.

Two days later I gave up on going to the retreat; I couldn't bear the pressure anymore. And to get them off of my back, I no longer mentioned my vocation and said that perhaps I'd consider following engineering after all. Perhaps I'm just a coward. Or maybe I just didn't have enough faith in our Lord. I really don't know. All I know is that I felt - and still feel - quite miserable on having given up. For all my enthusiasm and wanting to say "whenever you want me, O Lord!", I ran away at the first sign of trouble.

So for now, everything is on stand-by. I will be returning to the US for an indeterminate period of time. I will try to continue my discernment somehow while there, if God is willing. I will not give up on answering God's call; I just have to manage the nerve to say "No" to my parents' will.

Please pray for me in this hour of hurt and nead. And my God forgive my cowardness and infidelity to Him.

Pax Christi,
Mark of the Vineyard


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